May 22, 2011
Eagle-Rassling and Rooster-Netting
Here Diana Miller, the Raptor Center director, demonstrates how to handle an eagle. This particular bird has been handled a lot—she is more than forty years old and has been an "education bird" for most of her life after having an injured wing amputated. That does not mean she is completely docile, however!
When it was my turn, in fact, I kept thinking about how close her beak was to my chin and wondering how she felt about men with beards. (OK, apparently.)
The next session involved capture, and since the Raptor Center did not want us chasing their Swainson's hawk or some other exhibit birds around, someone provided two roosters.
In the second photo, you see one of the transport volunteers making her approach with a capture net.
The roosters were indignant about being netted, but once released they quickly returned to checking the ground for green plants and bugs.
Speaking of capture, the peregrine falcon that I picked up last August in the Wet Mountain Valley was released there in late April after spending the winter recuperating at the Raptor Center. Unfortunately, M. and I were unable to be present for the release, which was done for a school presentation in Westcliffe, but apparently all went well.
And the foxes from Mission: Wolf are doing well too, the local rehabilitator tells me.